Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Squash!!

Happy Friday!

Yesterday, I got in a crazy mood for squash and zucchini!! Squash used to be the one vegetable that I could not stand...had something to do with my mom force feeding me salmon and squash and me gaging (needless to say she never made me eat squash again)! But after trying squash again earlier this year and making zucchini bread...I discovered a love for the squash family.

After my run yesterday, I stopped by the grocery store and picked up 2 zucchinis and a squash, which were on sale and my total was only 1.80!! I was relieved because I realized, as I was in line, that all I had was 4 dollars (I went on a run and only brought 5 dollars with me and got a water half way through my run)! The price was amazing and the vegetables were delicious!  I decided to whip up a pasta bowl with sauteed zucchini and squash with balsamic, italian seasoning, salt and pepper and tilapia seasoned with a little cajan seasoning (I like a little kick) and italian seasoning and balsamic!! My pasta bowl was del-ic-ious and made me craving even more zucchini and squash (really I don't know what my taste buds are on right now)!
Pasta Bowl

Being on my squash family kick, I decided to make a frittata this morning.  I've been wanting to switch up by breakfast routine because it has become so predicable...either eggs with sausage or tomato or bacon or a combo of the three! I first sauteed the squash and zucchini with garlic, onion and basil.  I whipped up 2 egg whites and 1 egg.  I then combined the two together and put in the oven at 350 for about 10-15 minutes...and it came out amazing!! I am loving this new experimenting with cooking (I know I'm not going too far out of the box, but baby steps for me work just fine)!!


Well that was quite the long post about squash...promise I won't ramble on about it again but seriously it is in season and you should probably go out and take advantage of the fresh vegetables (cause lord knows I will be)!

Hope everyone has a wonder start of their weekend is July can you believe it?!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Say Cheese :)

I am happy to report that the cheese that I bought actually is lactose free...and doesn't upset my stomach!!! I have still been fairly cautious with consuming too much just in case it is a freak chance that my stomach hasnt gone array, but that being said I have enjoyed a few quesadillas and cheese on my pasta! Seriously, it is one of the best finds ever because my love of cheese and everything cheese-y has come back to life (after a two year hiatus, I can finally enjoy nachos, cheese and crackers, grilled cheese, mac and cheese, toasted cheese bagels, you get the picture: CHEESE).  Basically, it has made these past days filled with that comfort taste of sharp cheddar cheese (and wow I'm weird)! If you were curious: its cabot cheese, right in the dairy section, I really don't know how it is lactose free but I'm not contesting it!

Bean and cheese quesadilla
Pasta with chicken, green beans, tomato sauce and yes, cheese!

As for yesterday after blogging, I got pumped up to go for a run...the only problem was the 100+ degree heat and the wind!! The wind prevented me from running my longer bridge route (didnt want to blow away); but the mixture of wind with the heat made it not that miserable of a run and I actually enjoyed it!  Charleston is one of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful, cities that I have been in and I am so blessed that I get to run around it whenever I can! If you haven't tried it- go for it, running around the peninsula you get great people watching plus the breeze from the water (really it can't be beat-plus its flat)!

After my run, I made my dad proud and actually had a protein shake.  I have always had a problem with getting enough protein, I don't know what it is but I always overlook it!! But this little baby has 20 grams and tastes like thicker chocolate milk...delicious and extremely simple way to add a little fill me up protein!! 

Muscle Milk :)

Off to my last class, before I have a little break from school for a couple days :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

To run or not to run?!

Tuesdays are always odd days for me.  I usually get up and go for a long run, but this morning I allowed myself to sleep in a little (much needed still recovering from this weekend) and by the time I woke up and finished breakfast around 9:45 it was already blazing hot!!  So I nixed my long run this morning and decided to do a little house cleaning, studying for class and read a little of my new book, The Help! 

Tomatoes Sautéing 
Tomato, Bacon, Basil Egg Scramble :)
With a Side of The Help!

I have been dying to try the new ab class that Gold's just started to offer.  It is an intense 30 minutes of ab I may dip my feet in that this afternoon (or save it for Thursday).  I have been trying to take advantage of the gym as much as possible because I now live 5 minutes away from it and it's beginning to get a little too hot to run outside (other than the early, early morning or late night).  I promise I will get back outside to run, I just have to have a little more planning involved so I'm not running in the dead of the heat! So my big question for today: go for a run outside and bare the heat OR try ab class?! 

As for my diet, I was trying to restrict carbs as much as possible...but my body craves them so I decided that it isnt that bad to give in especially with marathon training where I need some (as long as they are healthy, at least for the most part).  That being said, I treated myself to a big bowl of oatmeal while watching the bachelorette last night.  I don't know what it is about that show that makes me watch it every week, though I swear it is awful and think that she is annoying and needs to get over Bentley (who made her look like an idiot and she only knew for a couple weeks and says she can't get over him because of a dot dot dot...come on now!!) I am still tuned in every Monday night (and admittedly will be tuned in every Monday night until the "final rose" and then "after the final rose").  I may have a problem...but Im assuming half of American girls under the age of 30 have a similar problem!! 

Oatmeal with White Chocolate, Coconut, Raspberries and Blueberries..yum!

Off to class, hope everyone has a great hot Tuesday!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sara's Wedding Recap

Told you I'd post again today...that may be a record for me twice in one day (maybe Ill keep it up-or just stick to attempting to post everyday!)

I am currently in between my two classes on Monday, so have a little wiggle room to blog and to enjoy this hot yet gorgeous day on my porch while eating my mexican salad and side of a quesadilla.  I bought cheese yesterday that says that it is lactose free soo I will have to report if it actually is or not...fingers crossed it is because boy is it delicious and I'm not trying to have my stomach cramp up in the middle of class ek! Also, something I just realized- never again will I buy the store brand salsa.  I ususally buy the harris teeter brand salsa or really any grocery store salsa because it is so much cheaper, but yesterday I decided to buy non-store brand salsa and wow is it tastier!! First it isnt so watered down (cost probably has something to do with that) and it is more flavorful with more chunks of tomatoes and flavor.  Just a little side note that I learned today :)

Salsa with salsa and refried beans (I heart frijoles)

Back to the more important stuff...Sara's Wedding Weekend!! The weekend kicked off a little early on Thursday night! We (Rachel, Charlotte, Laura, Paige and myself) decided to kidnap Sara and take her out in Charlotte, NC.  We had a little bachelorette party the previous Thursday in Greenville which was a little more tame and decided that we needed to kick it up a notch being that it was her last nights as a single lady and go out on the town.  We planned with her mom and now-husband to kidnap her from her house and that we would bring her back Friday afternoon...they were totally in!

Girls before we went to get Sara
Decorating the room!
Jim packed Saras bag
Walking to the kidnapping
Kidnapping complete with blind fold
Car in motion
Paige and me!
Howling at the moon...aka coolest bar ever!
Massive drink...split obviously!
Sara and Charlotte 

The next morning all got up went to breakfast then headed on our way to Rock Hill for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.  The rehearsal went smoothly; complete with a couple crazy but super organized church ladies who were helping out and the fact that half the groomsman weren't there! But all and all it was fun and exciting to see how everyone was going to stand and all...Sara ended up placing us- quite the teacher skills at work!  Then we went to the rehearsal dinner which was amazing (I told you I consumed a lot this weekend)!! We ate, drank, laughed and that was the moment that it kicked in that she was really getting married (at least for me)!! It was an awesome night and a perfect way to start the weekend with all the bridal party present!
Groom's Cake at the rehearsal dinner
Our flowers

On Saturday, we had the bridesmaids brunch which again was another fantastic meal and super cute!  It was great being able to relax and hang out with Sara and all the bridesmaids before the wedding and when we weren't all running around like a bunch of chickens with our heads cut off! After the brunch we rushed back to the lake house to get ready (thanks again to Paige who came back to do my makeup-if you didn't already know I have no clue how to put on makeup and need assistance every once and a while)! Then it was off to the chapel to see Sara and Jim get MARRIED!!

Bridesmaids Brunch
Sara's mom and sister helping her
Waiting for our cue!
Behind the scenes
Trouble makers-check!
Sara- so elegant

After the wedding it was off to the reception and lord knows that Sara's parents know how to throw a party.  That family does it up right- as does Sara- and it certainly was one for the books! I wish that Southern Living could have been there because it was so beautiful and truly an amazing night.  It rained right before the wedding so it cooled everything off and the bugs werent an issue which made the evening even better!!

Reception time :)
A little sweaty from dancing :/
With the gorgeous bride!
Typical Me (just had to add)

Congrats to the gorgeous couple, I love you guys!!

Sara being Sara!
Stunning Couple!!

Baking and Early Morning Workout!

Good Morning!!

This is going to be a two post day! This weekend was absolutely amazing and filled with great friends and amazing times!  It was one of my best friend's, Sara, wedding to a fantastic guy, Jim.  The wedding was gorgeous and centered around a beautiful couple.  I don't mean to gush so much but seriously I felt like I was at the royal wedding they just looked so classic and elegant.  Needless to say, she was the first of my good friends to get married and set the bar really, really high for the rest of us :) **Post to come on the wedding weekend!

For right now, I would like to start by saying that I have been up since 5:30 AM! I am a morning girl, but that means about a 7 am morning girl...not an hour and half earlier than that morning girl.  Today, I got my booty out of bed and headed to the gym.  Ali got a month membership to Gold's Gym and has been intensely going to the gym to use the free membership...this morning she was determined to wake up and go to the 5:45 bodypump class and I was not so determined, but after seeing her rise and shine I decided to throw on my work out clothes and get my butt out of bed!

I missed the bodypump class (which Ali did- she left 10 minutes or so before my slow self), but decided to do an interval run, legs, arms and a little bit of abs.  All and all it was a great start of my day.  I honestly think that I was still asleep when I was doing my interval run and at minute 20 when I was supposed to be on 9.8 for 30 body and mind woke up (not soo cool) but I was practically done so it was a great run and stayed on track.  I wonder if that really is true- that I was half asleep that it took a while for my body to understand what I was doing and when it did I was already more than half way done?!!? Either way--works for me!!

I was very proud that I ended up getting out of bed and actually going to the gym so early :) A little of the motivation came from understanding and realizing how much I consumed this weekend--it was a celebration with lots of delicious food and sweets---and not much time (at all) to work out or run! I live life with allowing myself to consume food and let my body relax every once and a while without guilt.  With that being said- I understand that I can take steps to minimize the gain after a great week of eating--work out, sleep and eat healthier.  Simple steps to keep me sane :)

Healthy Breakfast Morning- Sausage and Egg Whites

As for the sweets, I did contribute to the array of options.  I searched blogs and websites as well as a few of my cook books and picked two unique cookies to bake for the bachelorette party (part 2)!! Might I add how much I love having a real kitchen again :) I baked a fluffer-nutter cookie (yes the old tradition of peanut butter and marshmallow fluff together) and a coconut white chocolate chip cookie!! Both turned out great, but the winner by far was the coconut cookie!  The fluffer-nutter didn't look as appetizing because of the heat and traveling where the fluff expanded and spread a little too much :/ but they were still delicious to eat (just close your eyes and imagine they look good too haha)! As for the coconut cookie, it turned out awesome- fluffy, sweet, chewy and soft.

Baking Station
Peanut Butter Cookies
White Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies
Fluffer-Nutter Cookies (prior to the spread)

The recipe called for jello pudding pack- I originally thought that was so weird to add pudding to cookies, but trust me it is amazing.  I was first introduced to it this winter when my sister made some of the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted where she used a pudding pack!! It sounds crazy- but seriously if you haven't tried it go to the kitchen and bake with pudding because it is life changing :)

As for today, it is the official start of my Chicago Marathon Training and the last day of spring (though it is supposed to be over 100 degrees today)!! Hope everyone has a Happy Monday :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Just Another Day in Paradise

Good Morning!!

I am trying to get back into the swing of things and regularly blog again.  It is crazy how much more on track and organized I feel when I blog.  I know many people think blogging is silly and don't really understand it- but trust me if you don't have a blog you should try it out it's a lot of fun (speaking from a newbie blogger who still doesn't quite get it- it still is fun)!!

Since I am leaving again this Wednesday to start the wedding weekend, I went to the store and bought the essentials for 3 whole days.  It is nice knowing that I can buy stuff that goes bad quickly...because with such a time crunch I am bound to eat it (I can't stand when food goes bad :/)!  That being said I went to the store and bought a bunch of fresh produce...I absolutely love summer for all the delicious berries and veggies that are in season!!  I came out with blueberries, squash, zucchini, grapefruits, peaches and the most gorgeous looking tomato (and yes I will eat them all within 3 days)!!

Pasta with sauteed summer squash, zucchini and tilapia
Salad with fresh tomato, salsa, and black bean veggie burger
My favorite creation= a caprese omelet

I decided to dip my hands in experimenting a little with cooking--I am much more of a baker (there are instructions and I know how to follow them)--and even though I'm not cooking anything really to write home about I did create an amazing breakfast!! This morning, I sauteed fresh tomatoes with sea salt, fresh pepper and basil and then added 3 egg came out amazing!! If you can eat mozzarella without your stomach hurdling over I suggest adding that too which would be even more awesome and such a light but flavorful breakfast :)

After I finish my delicious (might I add again) breakfast, its off for a long run (6-9 miles depending on how my legs feel) and then the store to pick up some baking supplies before heading of to class!! I can't stay away from my cookie sheets long enough- plus this is a jammed packed weekend, so some extra sweets are always nice...right?! 

Hope everyone enjoys this gorgeous Tuesday!!

View from my porch (if you were curious)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blessed :)

I am very happy to report that I have had a wonderful past two weeks.  One of my best friends from college, Sara, is getting married next weekend!! Her fiance is getting deployed in July so the wedding is coming along extremely fast.  This past weekend we went up to Greenville for her bachelorette party and then to Rock Hill for a bridal shower.  It was such a great weekend with amazing friends and just went to show how truly blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life.  I am sooo excited for Sara and Jim and so happy that I get to celebrate with them (and they boy do they know how to celebrate)!!

Charlotte, Sara and Rachel
The bride and groom with Jims sister
The Happy cute :)
The ribbon bouquet...and apparently they are going to have a football team (broke 12 ribbons)1
Me and Laura with the happy couple!

In between the bachelorette party and the bridal shower, I got to hang out in my old stomping grounds...C-L-E-M-S-O-N!!! I absolutely love my alma mater and love going back to visit, it truly feels like my home away from home.  Laura and I convinced Paige to come down for the night and when we were waiting for her we ran perimeter (which is a nice 3+ mile route around campus) together! It is so much fun running that route because I know it so well...after training for a marathon running it becomes so natural and nice to retrace my old training course!! When Paige got in the three of us decided to make a massive dinner together (just like old times)!  We pan seared tuna steaks with a side of mashed squash and sauteed mushrooms (which I ended up eating 90 % of before dinner...oops) and paired it with some vino :) 

Dinner with my two besties :)
Paige and Laura
Laura and I getting ready :)!!

Sorry for the quick recap but life has been going in fast forward (in a great way) and I am so excited for the next coming weeks :) Hope you had a wonderful weekend!!